Resources for educators
Whether it is a natural area in which plants tangle and flowers scramble or a more formally designed landscape, a school garden can provide both a source of inspiration and a learning resource that can be integrated through the school. A garden offers a direct way for students to learn about the environment and somewhere they can find a quiet place. Many gardens become a focal point for community engagement, a project that brings families and local businesses together.
Pollinators are easy to incorporate into a school garden. All that is needed is careful choice of plants and provision of nesting or egg-laying sites. Pollinators can be the subject of many lessons. The resources listed on this page will help you plan and design a garden, introduce you to the diversity of insect pollinators, and provide lesson plans and other teaching materials.
The Bug Chicks The Bug Chicks offer lesson plans, curricula, educational games, enrichment videos, interactive whiteboard activities and more on their website. They also present workshops to students of all ages in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area.
Smithsonian Institution Plants and Animals: Partners in Pollination This resource includes a basic explanation of pollination, flower parts, pollinators, and several lesson plan ideas
National Gardening Association Kids Gardening Curriculum Connections: Perusing Pollination Partners This site contains curriculum for the classroom and plant ideas
PBS American Field Guide Co-evolution of Plants and Pollinators The lesson plans on this website are for grades 9-12
The Power of Pollinators Materials and resources to teach gardeners and naturalists about pollination, pollinators and every gardener’s role in pollinator conservation. Each module contains slides, notes and resources to help educators spread the word about pollinators.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln Bumble Boosters
University of Wisconsin – Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership for Schools
Pollinator Paradise This resource will help teachers and students determine if they are looking at bees, flies, or other insects
Montana Pollinator Education Project The Montana Pollinator Education Project provides lesson plans for grades K-8, pollinator identification and information cards, and Montana pollinator and wildflower illustrations.
Xerces Society Resources
Pocket identification guides for identifying bumble bees In the Northeast and Upper Midwest the rusty-patched bumble bee and other bumble bees the yellow-banded bumble bee and other bumble bees
In western North America the western bumble bee and other bumble bees
Guidelines Pollinator Friendly Parks How to enhance Parks, Gardens and other Greenspaces for Native Pollinator Insects
California Pollinator Plant List Great Lakes Pollinator Plant List Maritime Northwest Pollinator Plant List Mid-Atlantic Pollinator Plant List Midwest Pollinator Plant List Northeast Pollinator Plant List South Central Plants for Native Bees Southeast Pollinator Plant List
If you have an existing garden at your school, these Citizen Science projects may help you use your garden to teach about pollination and participate in a larger study
Bumble Bee Watch Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to upload photos, have identifications verified by experts, learn about bumble bees, and connect with other citizen scientists. This information helps researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees and locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees. Sign up today!
Streamlined Bee Monitoring Protocol Developed the University of California, Davis, Rutgers University, Michigan State University, and The Xerces Society, this guide provides instructions for assessing pollinator habitat quality and diversity by monitoring native bees. It was developed for conservationists, farmers, land managers, and restoration professionals to document how native bee communities change through time in pollinator habitats. It includes an introduction to bee identification, a detailed monitoring protocol, and data sheets for different habitat types.
The Great Sunflower Project This project involves growing sunflowers and monitoring the bees that visit them. The website includes detailed information on native bee identification.
Pollination Canada This resource provides a citizen science “pollinator observer” kit and handbook.
Texas Bee Watchers This resource is for monitoring bees in Texas.
Journey North This website provides information on tagging and monitoring monarch butterflies as they migrate in the eastern U.S.
The Vanessa migration project This website allows for citizens to help monitor the migration of Painted lady butterflies.
BeeSpotter BeeSpotter collects information from citizen monitors on honey bees and bumble bees in the state of Illinois.
California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide An instructional handbook for native bee survey efforts, used in the Xerces Society’s California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Course. The handbook assists users in identifying native bees to broad morphological categories for assessing general pollinator abundance and diversity.
California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide A pocket-sized printable field version of the taxonomic native bee groups described the California Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide.
Pennsylvania Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide An instructional handbook for native bee survey efforts, used by the Penn State Master Gardener Program. The handbook assists users in identifying native bees to broad morphological categories for assessing general pollinator abundance and diversity. Developed in collaboration with the Xerces Society, this guide is useful in identifying broad groups of bees throughout the Northeastern U.S.
Pennsylvania Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Pocket Guide A pocket-sized printable field version of the taxonomic native bee groups described the Penn-State Citizen-Scientist Bee Monitoring Guide.
Other Pollinator Resources
Discover Life Resources to help study wildlife, including keys to identify bees and butterflies
National Academy of Sciences Resources on Pollinators
B-Eye A simulation of how a bee sees
US Forest Service Celebrating Wildflowers – Pollinators
Ecological Society of America Pollination toolkit
UC Berkeley Urban Bee Gardens, Dr. Gordon Frankie
Eaton, E. R., and K. Kaufman. 2007. Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available for purchase in the Xerces store.
Evans, A. V. 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders & Related Species of North America. New York: Sterling.
Imes, R. 1992. The Practical Entomologist. Fireside Books, New York, NY.